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Urban Junkie

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The blessings of computerji

A recent post by manuscrypts – musings on the omnipotence of KBC’s computerji – got me thinking about the absolute power that computerji truly holds over me today, much beyond the domain of KBC. I don’t know about you, but computerji has inveigled his way into the very center of my existence. You know those questions that do the rounds about what-you-would-grab-if-the-house-was-on-fire, etc? Well, no, he’s not the first on the list … but he’s pretty much up there, right after Boogie, Gypsy and the cell phone.

It’s getting a bit out of hand, if you think about it.

For one thing, he seems to have persuaded me to dispense with several previously valued mental (and physical) faculties – or what used to pass for them at any rate. Now, I’m not usually one to boast, but there was a time when the ol’ brain would have been regarded as serious competition to computerji. It could add, subtract, multiply and perform all manner of mathematical gymnastics. It could remember phone numbers and appointments. It could remember spellings of long multi-syllabic words without having to rush to dictionary.com. Modesty prevents me from going on, but I’m sure it is apparent what a marvelous piece of equipment used to reside in this head before computerji took over.

Thanks to computerji and his several lackeys – calculatorji, cellphoneji and i-podji – I can now barely remember my own phone number. I can also barely sign my own name. The fingers that glide so effortlessly over the keyboard refuse to wrap themselves around a pen. Egged on in no small measure by computerji, need I add. Parchment and blue ink may be romantic, he says beguilingly, but they are also messy. And produce an illegible un-aesthetic scrawl that was never pretty at the best of times. True, especially when it is my illegible scrawl we are speaking of.

While the scrawl is no loss to humanity, the same unfortunately cannot be said of phone numbers and sums. A bit tedious to have to look through my cellphone directory every time I’m asked for my phone number. Even more tedious to have to fish out the calculator when counting out change for the dhobi.

Then, of course, there is the social life that lies in an unspeakable mess by the wayside. The amount of time I spend online is beginning to create more than a flutter among friends and family. But an evening spent surfing the net, checking mail, blogging or even simply staring at the screen trying to think of something to write does seem infinitely more alluring these days compared to hanging out at a pub or coffee bar. I’m told that I acquire a vaguely defensive, furtive air when asked about my plans for the evening – a result, no doubt, of wanting to indicate that I’m busy without getting into the exact nature of the busy-ness.

A friend suggests that I observe a computer-less day every week, much along the lines of meat-less and booze-less days. Well, clearly something must be done, but I don’t want to go overboard either. A little light exercise should do the trick, to get the body and mind in shape: a few minutes a day of writing with a pen, a couple of simple sums, maybe … some memory exercises and some conversation practice.

It is such an enticing world that computerji offers, though. Would be a real pity to give it up, wouldn’t it?

12 Comments:

  • Indeed! but hey, no pain, no gain...the Monk speaks: tread the middle path...

    By Blogger the Monk, at 8:48 PM, November 06, 2005  

  • Cool post. If Computerji is the reason for the slowness of your grey matter, consume lots Kellog's. Their ad shows this precocious kid doing multiplication and division over and above the simple sums you mentioned.
    ;)

    By Anonymous Amitav, at 1:01 AM, November 07, 2005  

  • Funny. Liked all your other posts as well. Especially the one on crackers.

    I have a golden lab who decides what he wants, when he wants and usually gets it too. I sometimes think he can open refrigerators too (going by the missing meat everyday).

    Atleast you can be thankful yours wait for you to dispense food. I look at Shaman longingly and he sometimes tosses me a rib.

    By Anonymous sanjay, at 5:23 AM, November 07, 2005  

  • Yes, one relates totally. That compelling need to click on every underlined word in a magazine is rather disconcerting.

    Many thanks for linking!

    By Blogger One in a Billion, at 5:32 PM, November 07, 2005  

  • And when computerji decides to take a break, say, during a power cut, then life just comes to a full stop!

    By Blogger apu, at 12:07 AM, November 08, 2005  

  • Monk: yes, wise words indeed ... that is certainly the intention, though it doesn't necessarily convert to action :(

    Amitav: there's a thought now. Perhaps I could become serious competition to computerji yet again.

    Sanjay: your lab sounds even more wicked than mine :)

    The One: lol ... no, mercifully i have not encountered that yet. Possibly because i have lost the ability to turn the pages of a magazine.

    Apu: yes, and in Bangalore if you remember, that is a not-infrequent occurance ...

    By Blogger Anjali, at 12:45 AM, November 09, 2005  

  • And, have you ever checked time on the bottom right of your TV screen yet? :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:04 AM, November 09, 2005  

  • virtually true..:)

    By Blogger manuscrypts, at 11:59 PM, November 09, 2005  

  • Anjali, I've been meaning to tell you - If you haven't already, you should read Charu's blog (http://indsight.org). She's also a researcher like you. I like reading her posts, very informative.

    By Blogger Sujatha, at 3:49 AM, November 10, 2005  

  • anon: well, yes ... and on the computer, and cellphone - i no longer wear a watch

    manuscrypts: virtually true is right :)

    sujatha: no, I haven't read her blog, but will check it out. Thanks!

    By Blogger Anjali, at 5:46 AM, November 11, 2005  

  • You'll empathise with this:

    http://absolutelee.rediffblogs.com/2003_23_11_absolutelee_archive.html#1070116832

    :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:45 AM, November 14, 2005  

  • hi! i had been an invisible reader of ur blog since late and was loving it all...
    hence i decided to add u to my blogroll. More to come, watch this space and keep the good work going...ur blog rocks!!!

    http://desparadodiaries.rediffblogs.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:31 PM, November 16, 2005  

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